FAMU Village Renamed in Honor of 1st Lt. James R. Polkinghorne Jr.

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Florida A&M University (FAMU) for renamed the FAMU Village student residence hall in honor of Lt. James R. Polkinghorne Jr., Tuskegee Airman Lost in World War II.

November 2019 FAMU held a ceremony to commemorate the renaming of FAMU Village to Lt. James R. Polkinghorne Jr. Village. Maggie Polkinghorne Wilson told ROTC cadets, students, staff, administrators, alumni and elected officials gathered for the dedication ceremony on Friday. “On behalf of the Polkinghorne family, thank you; thank you for honoring my brother 1st Lt. James R. Polkinghorne, Jr.”

The original Polkinghorne Village, the two-story apartment complex for married students, was dedicated in October 1948. During homecoming that year, the 332nd Tuskegee airmen flew over FAMU to acknowledge Polkinghorne Village. In 2012, the apartments were demolished to build the 800-unit FAMU Village to accommodate the growing student population.

A plaque at the site recognizing Lt. Polkinghorne was installed during Robinson’s inauguration festivities in 2018. A group of alumni had long lobbied for the residence hall to be renamed in honor of Polkinghorne.

Polkinghorne had just completed his junior year at what was then Florida A&M College (FAMC) when in 1942 he enlisted in what was then the U.S. Army Air Force and graduated from Tuskegee Army Airfield with FAMU alumnus Roy Spencer. As a flight leader of his squadron, Polkinghorne and his 301st fighter group set off to Sezze, Italy, in 1944 when his plane went down during a combat flight and was never found.

Sources: Tallahassee Democrat and FAMUFORWARD

Learn more about 1st Lt. James R. Polkinghorne, Jr. in Tuskegee Airmen Profiles!